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Chocolate Holiday Gifts 101: Three Chefs Make Chocolates that Look as Good as Everything Else Does this Season | Foodie

Chocolate Holiday Gifts 101: Three Chefs Make Chocolates that Look as Good as Everything Else Does this Season | Foodie


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Chocolate is a decadent gift at any time of year, but during the holidays you want the confection to look as good as it tastes. After all, it’s got to keep up with a seasonal focus on appearance and be every bit as good as packages wrapped and ribboned to sparkly perfection, outdoor lighting displays that are the pride of a neighborhood, and the outfit carefully chosen for a holiday party.

Three local chocolatiers have this covered. Though each has a different take on their approach to chocolate and none could be mistaken for any other. All are visually stunning and perfect for hostess and teacher gifts,adding sparkle to a dessert tray, or a treat after a long day of holiday shopping and errands.

Robin’s Chocolates

Robin Autorino found her love of chocolate as she studied patisserie in France and worked at Flagstaff House, Brown Palace Hotel, and the Dushanbe Tea House. Chocolate-making was not her first choice of a career. In fact, for many years she believed she was allergic to it. Eventually, she learned she could tolerate most varieties of higher-grade, cleaner versions. That discovery fueled one of the basic premises of how she works today  – using the best ingredients possible including French Valrohna chocolate.

Today, she operates Robin’s Chocolates out of a kitchen and retail space on Airport Road in Longmont. Her classical training works with her choice of ingredients to ensure a strong, rich flavor profile such as holiday selection of figgy pudding or hot buttered rum. “If you bite into the Raspberry heart, you know it’s raspberry. That’s always been my emphasis for all of my flavors. You know what they are,” she said.

Autorino also takes her time to be sure that the look of each chocolate is exactly how she envisions it. Often, this requires what she describes as painstaking airbrushing. It’s not easy, but she feels it’s worth it to achieve the right presentation to go along with her flavors.

Stam Chocolate. Photo: Deborah Cameron

Stam Chocolate

At this time of year, stepping into Stam Chocolate’s retail space on Lafayette’s S. Public Road is like entering a holiday special. An array of chocolates in a case span two-thirds of the length of the retailer’s showroom and towers of multi-sized foil-wrapped Santas, advent calendars, and chocolate reindeer complete the look and make for one of a kind holiday gifts.

These chocolates can be purchased in Colorado, but they come from Belgium, where they’re shipped to the location. The same family has been making milk and dark chocolate confections for more than two centuries in a traditional Belgian style.

As Matthew Brundridge, owner of Stam’s Colorado location said, “Today, the great, great, great, great, great grandson of Jacobus Stam makes our chocolate. Through depressions, recessions, world wars, and global pandemics, we have an uninterrupted line of confectioners doing what they can to make the world a sweeter place.”

Piece, Love and Chocolate. Photo: Deborah Cameron

Piece, Love and Chocolate

This Pearl Street destination offers a chocolate-themed refuge from the rigors of holiday shopping and events. It also offers a wide range of things chocolate – from a gift-worthy cake that’s sold whole or by the slice, to a range of drinks.

“Everything we make must speak chocolate first,” said owner Greg Amorese. “We produce somewhere around 50 different types of truffles and take extreme care with them. For example, with our Mayan spice truffle, we roast our own blend of three types of chilis, or for our port and fig truffle we make a ‘pate fruit’ that’s layered into the truffle.”

But the flavors of its chocolates are matched by their distinct representations of Boulder — there are chocolates that show off the Avery Brewing A and the CU Buffalo, for instance. That’s what earned it a spot on its list.

Author

Deborah Cameron
Deb brings a passion for community journalism and for the local food scene. She started out as an intern and over the years grew into our current Cuisine Editor. She has appeared in multiple publications including the Longmont Leader, The Left Hand Valley Courier, Ms. Mayhem, Finance101, and Ask.com. When not writing she's eating, road tripping, dog-parking, or watching high school softball. She moved to Colorado from Seattle in the early 2000s after spending a year traveling the U.S. in a teal Ford Escort hatchback. She lives with her husband, two teenagers, and a rescue dog named Charlie.

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